One’s interface to reality is how one view’s Reality and other life and non-life within it; other people, plants, animals, rocks, chairs, mountains, stars, and the broader cosmos.
What is our relationship to all of this?
Though we may have not explicitly reflected on this question, it is one we have been constructing our whole life. It is the question of, who am I? It is the question of, how have I constructed my identity.
But unless you’re into probing into the deeper nature of things, this wouldn’t cross your mind.
Yet it’s not a question that’s really escapable.
We see it in our attempts to characterize and taxonomize the human animal.
We first called ourselves, homo sapies, “wise man”. Perhaps owing to our greater intelligence and tool making techniques.
But this characterization felt inadequate and incomplete. And over time, we came up with other labels: homo ludens, “the playing man”, homo narrans, “the narrating/storytelling man”, homo faber, “man the maker”, and homo poetica, “man the meaning maker”.
In fact, our society and our culture seems to be predicated on some uniqueness. And our unique beings and roles and held within this broader context.
But these only give us a hint of what we’re trying to get at. These characterizations apply to humanity at large. And we need to look at the interface at the level of the individual.
Consider homo ludens, “the playing man”. This tries to capture that play is an essential part in the formation of culture and the individual human. It is play that connects my minds to the minds of others. This play, that binds us all together into bigger social structures, and perhaps into a oneness with everyone and everything. This is Love- a oneness with others.
Or consider homo narrans, the storyteller. This tries to capture that we tell stories to make sense of the world. At an individual level, one must reflect on what is the story I’m telling myself, and the world. And this story is about getting to some Truth, some deeper understanding.
You, might rightfully ask, why does this shit matter? Most people don’t think about this stuff and get through life just fine. Perhaps less encumbered.
Certainly, humans are animals, and if your goal is to “get through”, then living like an animal will do. Animals needn’t worry about these absurd questions. They certainly get through.
But some of them certainly get butchered. Some of them run off of cliffs. I don’t know if they think about life and death; but they certainly don’t write Shakespeare.
But most humans don’t either. But you have the choice to. And that’s a choice you have to make.
I can’t make that choice for you.
What I can give you is a little reframing on your perspective; a better metaphor to view life through.
When you say, get through, it implies, there’s a tunnel you’re climbing though. With the goal to get to the other side. But, have you wondered what is waiting for you on the other side? What will you come to, when you arrive on the other side? Even when you’re climbing away from a shitty day, or experience?
You might think, you’ve reflected on this question and come to the realization and found happiness, is what you want to come to.
But does happiness really work like that? It’s always somewhere out there; never here; never now. We can certainly experience deep joy and happiness, but it’s never the kind of deep lasting feeling, that we want it to be. The pursuit of happiness can make us a ghost of the future to come.
We confuse momentary comfort and discomfort with a happy or unhappy life- at great peril to ourselves. If your pursuit of happiness makes you go out of your way to avoid Reality, you’re deeply confused. Because, when you avoid Reality, you end up nowhere, but in the quagmire of your delusions- a world that could have been; that should have been; a world that would have been; but never this world.
Truth avoids all these trappings of Happiness.
Truth is not some esoteric pile of shit out there. It’s what’s in your head and heart right now. It’s what you feel right now. It’s the space between you and your friend. Any claim about the Truth as not here and now, is not the Truth.
While Happiness is about the destination, the Truth is about the journey.
And Truth provides a more self-evident reference point, than Happiness, around which to view your life and how to anchor.
And in this light, life doesn’t appear like a tunnel. It’s a journey. It’s a beautiful work of art. And Truth is the paintbrush with which you paint your life.